Objective: To determine the availability of employment and retention for the increased number of medical graduates in Jamaica and The Bahamas.
Methods: The availability of internships and junior medical posts for graduates of The University of the West Indies in Jamaica and The Bahamas over the five-year period of 2012 to 2016 was reviewed.
Results: There were 947 medical graduates between 2012 and 2016 in Jamaica; 69.4% of them were female. The number of graduates increased annually. The majority of graduates were Jamaicans; non-Jamaicans comprised 18.2%. All Jamaican graduates obtained internship posts in the public hospitals and at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Jamaica, with a phased increase of approximately 20% in the posts available over the period. The public hospitals employed 75% of the graduates. There were 172 non-Jamaican graduates, the majority of whom were from Trinidad and Tobago, who did not seek employment in Jamaica. In The Bahamas, there were 132 graduates, all of whom obtained internship posts in public hospitals. Of the 2259 applicants, 664 were accepted to postgraduate programmes in Jamaica and The Bahamas between 2012 and 2016. Seventy per cent of all graduates were working in the English-speaking Caribbean, with the majority in Jamaica.
Conclusion: The number of medical graduates trained increased, with a predominance of females. All graduates obtained employment in Jamaica and The Bahamas, mainly in public institutions. Although there was 70% retention of graduates, there is an urgent need to increase the number of postgraduate posts and accredited training institutions in the Caribbean.